Red Bull II Falls to Louisville City in Shootout

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Red Bulls II logoNew York Red Bull II fell painfully short of playing for its second straight United Soccer League championship, losing to host Louisville City in a penalty kick shootout in the Eastern Conference final on Saturday night in Kentucky.

“The message before was just to believe, have confidence, have no fear and we did that,” Coach John Wolyniec said. “None of our guys came up short in that sense. You have to give credit to the goalkeeper [Greg Ranjitsingh] in his two saves. One by inches, and it’s also a learning moment . My message is to even missing, there can be more value in that then scoring. It doesn’t seem like it now, but it may carry a mints weight in the future as long as its used and approached in the proper way. That’s what we want, that’s why we built this team is to put younger guys through tough moments and cause them a lot of pain so that they can get better.”

The match, played before more than 10,000 at Louisville Slugger Stadium, was tied 1-1 after 120 minutes of open play. Louisville City took the lead in the 12th minute on a goal by Brian Ownby, his third of the postseason, off an assist from Luke Spencer (the name of Anthony Geary‘s character in the long-running soap opera “General Hospital). RBII drew even in the 57th minute on a goal by Junior Flemmings.

“I looked up and I saw the goalkeeper started advancing to his near post so I hit it across and got lucky,” Flemmings said.

In the shootout, the teams traded goals in the opening round, but after Douglas Martinez‘s attempt found the right corner to open the second round, RBII goalkeeper Evan Louro made a diving save to deny Louisville’s Paolo DelPiccolo‘s shot to the left corner.

The teams exchanged goals in the third round, keeping New York ahead with a slim margin, but Ranjitsingh got his side back level to open the fourth round with a save on Red Bulls Academy player Ben Mines, allowing Oscar Jimenez to tie it. Ranjitsingh then made another save to open the fifth round to deny Ethan Kutler as he tipped the shot to the left corner onto the crossbar and out. That opened the door for Richard Ballard to score and send Louisville to its first USL Cup, hosting Swope Park Rangers next week.

“For our guys to take it to the absolute limit is a real achievement and I hope they see it that way,” Wolyniec said. “As much as it hurts right now, they deserve to feel good about not only this game, but this season in general and the direction it went.”